1997 Fisher Wedding Vineyard Tasting Notes - Annual Anniversary

Raya Restaurant - Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel

Back in 1999 when I first started collecting wine, I purchased the 1997 Fisher Wedding Vineyard to drink on our wedding day in 2001. At the time, Robert Parker described this wine as a "La Mission Haut Brion on steroids” and “a modern-day California legend...one of the most profound California Cabernet Sauvignons ever made on the Sonoma side of California's North Coast viticultural region.” Parker’s notes were enough for me to gamble on drinking this on our wedding day.

After exceeding all our expectation, as it was amazing young, I searched the US and purchased every bottle of 1997 Fisher Wedding I could find, with the goal that we would celebrate with one bottle every 5 years on our anniversary. I was able to secure enough early on that we drank a bottle every 2 years, and I would tell friends it is the best Napa cabernet I have every smelled or tasted. In 2009, I ran into a monster parcel at Sothebys that included 72 bottles and 6 magnums that I was able to buy at the reserve price...meaning I was the only one bidding!!!

Well, April 29th was 22 years and counting, and like the previous years, 1997 Fisher Wedding is aging at a snails pace. Never decanting to watch it evolve in the glass, the color is always the same…opaque black purple to the rim with a sweet smell of scorched earth, forest floor and pure black/blue fruit that roar from the glass. It reminds me of the 2005 Pape Clement, a Graves gem we love, but with much more…well...everything.

On first sip, the wine envelops the pallet with silky tannins much like the 1997 Abreu Madrona Ranch, but with a 1997 Harlan Estate richness. The finish is always same, pure sweetness slowly giving way to volcanic notes that go on for over a minute. It's hard to describe its greatness, and in my opinion, I have yet to have a Napa cab more complete or that I love more than the 1997 Fisher Wedding. My prayer is that we will get to drink one of these on April 29th until we are old and gray with no teeth!

Oh, and the view out the window at Raya in the Ritz Laguna Niguel is about as good as it gets!!!




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